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It's coming up sunflowers

It's coming up sunflowers

After being unable to host its March festival, Istanbul International Literature Festival staged a digital event this week on its original theme of ‘sunflower literature’ – from 15 June until 19 June – events fittingly end with David Nicholls discussing Sweet Sorrow.

The latest session was a conversation on Thursday 18 June with Dutch author Eva Meijer, whose book The Bird Cottage is a fictionalised narrative of the life of reclusive eccentric, former concert violinist, and lifelong bird obsessive Gwendolen Len Howard.

Many festivals are currently being pushed to adapt to a virtual environment, but ITEF is unique in that it is offering each session with tri-lingual translation over a zoom platform, into Turkish/English/Spanish, in addition to scheduling sessions at times and with authors that work for international audiences – from Latin America’s Alejandro Zambra to Serbia’s Vladimir Pistalo, and beyond.

ITEF is undaunted and hoping to run real-world events in the autumn, but in the meantime, they continue to turn towards light and hope in the face of uncertainty – their last session with David Nicholls is no exception with his latest novel Sweet Sorrow – a nostalgic and bittersweet tonic.

You can check out their website here and register for the last session here.